Wright and Rivera’s Line ‘The Dream Team’: One of Yosemite’s Best
First climbed in 2019, the route is quickly becoming a must-climb in the ValleyPhoto by: Jordan Cannon
Located on the Fifi Buttress near a cluster of new-age long free climbs, the ten pitch 5.13a Dream Team is “one of the best modern routes in the Valley,” says Jordan Cannon.
Named tongue-in-cheek after a 20-some-year climbing partnership between Cedar Wright and Lucho Rivera, the Dream Team (aka The Next Generation) is the perfect training ground for people wanting to free El Cap, Jordan Cannon says.
“Cedar Wright, in his biased opinion,” says Cannon, “told me it was one of the best free routes in the Valley. But after climbing it, damn, he’s right.
“I can’t emphasize how casual and fun an outing it is for how difficult the climbing is,” Cannon continues. “You get worked because it’s physical, but because it has a lot of bolts, it’s not scary, making it very approachable for a lot of people.”
Established in November 2019, The Dream Team on Fifi Buttress in Yosemite was quickly repeated by Alex Honnold, who highly praised it and convinced Cannon, 26, to make the third ascent.
On October 17 Cannon led the entire route, falling once on two pitches — the crux 13a layback and on the final 5.12 rope length — before pulling the rope and sending those sections. He received support from Tayler Shaffer, 20, an aspiring climbing photographer out of San Diego. Shaffer jugged all the pitches and hauled a pack full of food, water and extra gear.
In recent years, Cannon, a full-time athlete sponsored by Arc’teryx and co-star in the film Free as Can Be, has ticked off a laundry list of long lines on Fifi Buttress, including Center of the Universe (5.11-), Voyager (5.11), Romulan Warbird (5.12c) and Final Frontier (5.13a/b).
“My favorite part of the route is pitch 5,” says Cannon, “It’s one of the coolest pitches on Fifi Buttress.”
Called the Fifi Monster, 5.12a, pitch 5, is reminiscent of the horror chimney called The Ear on El Cap’s Salathé Wall but more difficult and with bolts. Though it gets wide, Cannon says, scattered bolts keep the commitment level low and rack size small, requiring only up a 3 Camalot to protect. “The wide climbing is only 10+ or 11- but it’s awesome.”
Cannon describes the 5.13a crux as sustained laybacking on a continuously steepening corner. Here he put his multipitch fitness to the test, which had gone down since Covid-19 has forced him to reduce his travels to single-pitch sport climbing. He chose climbing Dream Team to rebuild his strength and confidence for big wall free climbing. Since completing the route, he’s climbed the 700 foot 5.12 Scarface on Liberty Cap. Coming up, he has his eyes set on freeing El Cap’s 5.13a Golden Gate in-a-day.
Located west of Leaning Tower, Fifi Buttress, in the 80s, was home to 1,000-foot aid routes. The 90s brought Dan McDevitt and partners who began establishing aid lines that they planned to either free themselves or leave for the next generation. Also during the late 90s, Dan Osman (1963-1998) rigged lines across Fifi Buttress to Leaning Tower to do record-length rope jumps.
The Dream Team is also called The Next Generation because it climbs like a modern sport/trad route, says Cannon. Instead of being a heads-up trad line with runouts and tricky gear, it goes with a mix of bolts and gear. This way the focus is on the powerful, sequential climbing instead of worrying about getting hurt.
Following on Cannon’s heels, Hayden Jameison out of Salt Lake City made the fourth ascent of Dream Team on October 22.
“There is a lot of potential up there,” Cannon says of the future hard first ascents waiting for the next generation on Fifi Buttress.